Title page for ETD etd-06022006-122847

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Lluna-Mateu, Francisco Ramon
Author's Email Address fllm@duke.edu
URN etd-06022006-122847
Title Development of Spanish L2 Competence in a Synchronous CMC (Chat Room) Environment: The Role of Visually-Enhanced Recasts in Fostering Grammatical Knowledge and Changes in Communicative Language Use
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Linguistics (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Arnulfo G. Ramirez Committee Chair
Hugh W. Buckingham Committee Member
Jorge Arbujas-Silva Committee Member
Michael Hegarty Committee Member
Robert Lafayette Dean's Representative
  • computer-mediated communication
  • computer-assisted language learning
  • subordinate noun clauses
  • subordinate adverbial time clauses
  • conditional sentences
Date of Defense 2006-05-10
Availability unrestricted
Taking into consideration some gaps observed in SLA research –noticing, recasts, input enhancement (IE),…– and in CALL/CMC research, a study was conducted among 12 advanced FL Spanish learners to assess whether and how, by communicating with a Spanish native speaker in 5 chat-room sessions, their language competence would develop in the following areas: 1) communication strategies; 2) communicative acts; and 3) grammatical knowledge of verb tense-aspect-mood (TAM) assignation. Subjects were assigned to a specific feedback condition/group (A: +recast, -enhancement; B: +recast, +enhancement; and C: no feedback) under which their TAM errors were treated in the sessions.

Few research studies have concentrated on the effectiveness of recasts for grammatical acquisition; rather, they tend to focus on conversational aspects (e.g. Lyster & Ranta, 1997; Ohta, 2000) while the scarce grammar-based recast research has yielded positive results (e.g. Doughty & Varela, 1998; Ishida, 2004; Mackey & Philp, 1998). On the other hand, IE, typically an enhancement of the perceptual salience of input in applying the “input flooding” technique (Francis, 2003), has yielded mixed results, but some studies have found a facilitative effect for IE (Doughty, 1991; Francis, 2003; Jourdenais et al., 1995; Shook, 1994). Because of their relatively ineffective, rather implicit nature when used in isolation, in this study recasts were combined with IE assuming that IE –a tool not traditionally used in SLA as an additional measure of feedback– might strengthen the recast and render it more effective for uptake of the linguistic forms. Based on the properties of the resulting combined feedback (group B: enhanced recast), it was anticipated that enhanced recasts would be a more powerful tool, and, as a result, the following sequence of gain in grammatical knowledge would be found: group B (enhanced) > group A (non-enhanced) > group C (no feedback).

The findings reveal that groups B and C had the highest overall gains in verb TMA assignation, and group B was superior in most grammatical contexts. As for communication strategy and communicative act use, the sequence of gain was: A > B > group C.

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